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If you have local real-world sites serving customers like a store or hotel then Local SEO through Google Places will be really important for you. Here are some of the best resources
The big question then is, how do I make sure I am at the top for relevant searches? Unlike traditional search results, inbound links and the likes are less relevant but there tactics you can use to try and ensure your business is prominent where relevant.
The priorities should be to implemented the following (without making it too complicated):
As you can see by the search below, Google Places now takes up larger area on a Google results page for a local search. Even more significant, all the top entries have a Places entry, so you're effectively invisible unless you do Places marketing well.
This clearly presents a great opportunity for businesses though as with traditional search results there is only room for a certain amount of results and we all understand the value of being number 1.
This is Google's site to help business: http://www.google.com/places/.
A guide we'd recommend is by David Mihm (Local search best practice guide) outlines the factors that are likely to be taken into account when Google generates results in Google Places.
This is another useful reference source with analysis for the latest Google Places updates.
This guide has been orientated around Google places but they tend to lead these type of innovations & updates, which means Yahoo / Bing will not be far behind. Checkout their versions of Google places at:
These are the related techniques which we recommend as important for managing Local SEO effectively. View these hub pages giving details on best practices, statistics and examples for these techniques: